As India mulls whether to extend its nationwide lockdown due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), on Friday, published a study of the surveillance conducted by them, on severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) patients to identify the spread of the Coronavirus. The study has been conducted on 5911 patients in 41 hospitals or 'sentinel sites' from February 15, 2020, onwards by conducting the COVID-19 test on them. The results have made the ICMR to conclude that containment must continue in placed reporting COVID-19 cases among SARI patients.
After testing 5,911 SARI patients from 52 districts in 20 States / Union Territories, ICMR has found that 104 patients which is 1.4%, have tested positive. Moreover, ICMR has stated of these 104 - 39.2% of the patients, amounting to 40 patients did not report any history of contact with a known case or international travel. The study suggests that intensifying sentinel surveillance for COVID-19 among SARI patients will help in the containment and mitigation of COVID-19.
Chalking up a cluster containment strategy, ICMR has stated that this would be able to contain the disease within a defined geographic area by early detection of cases, breaking the chain of transmission and thus preventing its spread to new areas. India would be following a strategic approach for possible scenarios - travel-related cases reported in India, local transmission of COVID-19, large outbreaks amenable to containment, widespread community transmission of COVID-19 disease. With geographic quarantine, social distancing measures enhanced active surveillance, testing all suspected cases, isolation of cases, authorities will do extensive contact tracing and active search for cases in containment zone maintaining 100% lockdown.
As of date, 6634 active cases have been reported of the pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19) - 652 have been discharged and Maharashtra reported the highest at 1574. 242 deaths have been reported till date. India has suspended all visas and barred travel from Afghanistan, Philippines, EU, UK, China, Malaysia and mandatory 14-day quarantine from several other countries. The Prime Minister has issued a 21-day countrywide lockdown starting from 23 March to April 15 and the Finance Minister has announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package under the 'PM Gareeb Kalyan Scheme'. With the increase in cases, Centre is mulling extending the lockdown, while states like Punjab, Odisha, West Bengal and Maharashtra has already extended lockdown till April 30.